It may seem like a given that a young basketball player would idolize LeBron James, but for NBA Draft prospect and Morgan State alum Troy Baxter Jr., it goes far beyond James' accomplishments on the court.
In his college bio on Morgan State's website, Baxter is quoted saying he respects James because "he is a role model to children." On Wednesday, after having a pre-draft workout with the Washington Wizards, Baxter explained further.
"Really, he means a lot because Jordan, Michael Jordan back in the day, he was the guy. But as far as different topics, social justice and stuff like that, he wasn't really big on that," Baxter said. "I feel like LeBron is the main guy, he's pretty much in the forefront and in the headlines for sticking up for those rights."
While being the face of the NBA for a decade-plus, James has also been a leader in his charity work, notably starting a school in Akron, Ohio in 2018. He has also been outspoken about current events involving social justice and police brutality. Because he is one of the most famous athletes in the world, he has had to weather plenty of criticism along the way.
Baxer is impressed with how James uses his profile for good.
"So, I think that's really big in today's society. As far as social media goes, he's a big figure out here. That's definitely a big plus for me," Baxter said.
Baxter is trying to realize his own NBA dream now. He's a 6-foot-9 forward known for his defense who began his college career at UNLV before spending a year at Florida Gulf Coast University, then finishing up at Morgan State in Baltimore.
Baxter is hoping to be drafted later this month. However his professional basketball journey begins, you can expect him to look to James for an example.